Faces of JAG: Madeline's Story

ONE STUDENT'S STORY

“I think I’m most proud that I can just confidently say that I know what I’m doing.”

Madeline Zavala wasn’t thinking about graduating at all. High school was hard, confusing, and disorienting. She couldn’t think far ahead - it was like a long walk with no end in sight. “I was just thinking, ok, I’ll get my GED.” A year before she joined JAG her future coordinator pulled her out of a vicious fight with another student in the hallway. “It was kind of embarrassing, really, she [Tanya] pulled me out of this fight and said, you know, you need to get your stuff together.” The next school year Maddie joined Tempe High School’s Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates class.
“I got to JAG and my coordinator said that you know look, you have to work, you have to have goals to be in the real world. So I thank her for at least giving me the push I needed to find what I wanted to do and to be able to do what I wanted to do.”

Madeline works in real estate in the valley. Her goal is to help her community and generation into affordable housing, and to make a path forward for the people around her. All of that started percolating sometime in her year forming under Tanya Moultan’s mentorship in Tempe JAG. JAG is where the rubber hit the road for Madie in a lot of ways - but that process wasn’t without it’s own surprises and twists. The first day was something of a shock to her in the rigour and depth of JAG’s intentions.

MY JAG JOURNEY

“I joined JAG my junior year of high school. I was expecting a study hall, a fun class and we were just all gonna be singing kumbaya.” Instead she found herself face-to-face with a class dedicated to preparing her for the life that awaited her. Tempe JAG was focused on education and career opportunities, leadership, and financial literacy. “I got a lot of life lessons I still use to this day, like budgeting… I still use that!”. Madde’s JAG Program was critical in her educational success, and her coordinator worked hand-in-hand with her to create the groundworks for her burgeoning career in real estate.
Madie’s relationship with her coordinator was the cornerstone of her time in JAG, and the key to the empowerment she gained through the program. In addition to an emotional grounding, Madie found that her coordinator was a great source of life advice, and was working tirelessly to impart it onto the class.
“She would make us listen to Dave Ramsey and things like that. And she would make us make powerpoints of our career path and why we wanted to be that. She was just a great teacher. She would call me and make me come to school.”

On the last day of our senior year she read “the places you’ll go” by Dr. Suess. I read that book when I was in elementary school, but just hearing her reading it and just saying: these are all the places you’ll go, this is what I expect from you guys. She was kind of guiding us through what we’re supposed to do with our lives.

Because graduating wasn’t really a thing on my mind. But she made it an obligation to come to school every day when I didn’t think it needed to be one.
She was just very supportive of all of her classrooms
Madeline knew she was interested in real estate as a way to provide for her community. Her family and families around her had struggled in the 2008 Housing Crisis, and Madeline knew firsthand the turmoil of housing insecurity.

“I told my teacher that I wanted to be a real estate agent - it wasn’t even really being an agent, it was getting people into homes.”

A community can’t exist without housing. Madeline saw a need and wanted to fill it - “I came from a background with my family - especially around 2008 [housing bubble collapse] - we had a very hard time getting a house at that time. It just stuck with me and I wanted to help and be a part of that aspect [housing development]”. After graduating high school she immediately moved on to working in local real estate, with the help of her JAG Coordinator. Becoming licensed at the age of 19. She immediately set to work making good on her desire to help her community.

THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON

Celina says the most important lesson she learned from her JAG Coordinator, Mrs. Paez, was to simply be herself. “Ms. Paez is always unapologetically herself and that is why everybody loves and admires her. Her authentic self and transparency – with lots of humor – were the perfect combination to inspire many of us.”

MY CAREER PATHWAY

Madeline knew she was interested in real estate as a way to provide for her community. Her family and families around her had struggled in the 2008 Housing Crisis, and Madeline knew firsthand the turmoil of housing insecurity.

“I told my teacher that I wanted to be a real estate agent - it wasn’t even really being an agent, it was getting people into homes.”

A community can’t exist without housing. Madeline saw a need and wanted to fill it - “I came from a background with my family - especially around 2008 [housing bubble collapse] - we had a very hard time getting a house at that time. It just stuck with me and I wanted to help and be a part of that aspect [housing development]”. After graduating high school she immediately moved on to working in local real estate, with the help of her JAG Coordinator. Becoming licensed at the age of 19. She immediately set to work making good on her desire to help her community.

MOST PROUD OF

“I would say that I’ve helped over 45 people into homes, or to help sell their homes. That’s very uncommon for someone my age - but I think I come from a community that’s very tight-knit: I’ve helped my friends and then their friends. I think just to be able to confidently say that I know what I’m doing. I think that’s helped me in my career, and that’s what I’m most proud of.“

“I would say I’ve helped about four or five JAG students get houses now.”

MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE

“I know that it seems like you can’t buy a house until I’m 30 or 40 years old - especially since we came from an era [of hardship]. I have family members that still can’t buy a home because of what happened in 2008 and 2007. But I educate them [young people] enough to tell them that ‘hey, you could be a homeowner at 20 or 21 years old… which some of my clients are, I’m about to be 24 but I help people who are 19 years old get a house and it’s like, dang! Look at you.”
(602) 216-9503
3320 W. Cheryl Dr., Suite B220 Phoenix, AZ 85051
Copyright 2020 -  Jobs for Arizona Graduates
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram